Les «Bains Douches» : A Renaissance
Back in March, while we were still enveloped in winter’s thick white coat, all of Paris’ hippest art, fashion, music, cinema, and TV fauna RSVP’d to a huge event: the reopening of the mythical Les Bains Douches. Though I was sadly not in attendance, I was curious enough – albeit slightly skeptical – to visit a few weeks later.
I had few expectations, but as I entered Les Bains (“Les Douches” didn’t survive the renovations), the temple of Parisian nightlife in the 80s – Paris’ Studio 54, frequented by Andy Warhol, Basquiat, Lagerfeld, Bowie, De Niro, Prince, and a certain young David Guetta – I began imagining the decadent ambiance that had once permeated the space. Taking on this Parisian institution – the queen of excessiveness – was an ambitious endeavour.
The mood is set from the get-go: tall ceilings, a spectacular bar in the background, tastefully selected vintage furniture, and dark red as the predominant colour. The result is striking.
From one room to the next, we discover a unique and captivating atmosphere. The nightclub in the basement remains, attracting nostalgic hipsters as well as local public figures like Laurent Ruquier, whom I encountered during my visit.
The iconic blue mosaic pool is intact, and continues to stir up curiosity. The 2015 version of the space also offers a pleasant restaurant with a muted ambience and great food – full to the brim when I was there.
Another novelty: the space now includes a 5-star hotel with 39 welcoming rooms and suites designed in the same spirit, but I didn’t get a chance to visit them.
The venue’s refined and sensual style, with nods to the original decoration – created at the time by a young and unknown designer who went by the name of Philippe Starck – has got it all; from the couch on which Andy Warhol was photographed, reproduced for the rooms; to the black and white checkerboard dancefloor, identical to the original; to the gorgeous entrance hall counter and preserved artwork.
Everything is spectacularly beautiful and tasteful; this place is a must-see. As of now, Les Bains’ future seems promising, but only time will tell if this legendary address will succeed in maintaining yesterday’s panache.We hope it will be.
7 rue du Bourg l’Abbé, 3rd Arr., metro Étienne Marcel
+33 1 42 77 07 07